Clean Ocean Access (COA), a nonprofit organization with the vision of A Clean, Healthy Ocean that is Accessible to All, launches successful Zero Waste Event Sustainability Services.
COA began partnering with organizations back in 2019 to help establish sustainable protocols at their events. Due to the pandemic, they were unable to execute zero waste events for the better half of two years. They spent that time growing other parts of their Healthy Soils Healthy Seas Rhode Island composting initiative and strengthening partnerships with compost haulers, like-minded organizations, restaurants, schools, and local and state legislators.
The Healthy Soils Healthy Seas Rhode Island initiative (HSHSRI) is one of the organization’s circular economy programs, which uses the multifaceted behavior of composting as an integrative solution for waste management, water quality, marine debris and overall ocean health for the state of Rhode Island. The event sustainability services allow COA to educate community members about these solutions and empower residents and visitors to adapt more environmentally responsible behaviors.
“Partnering with Clean Ocean Access has made newportFILM’s initial sustainability goals achievable. Through their comprehensive support, we were able to successfully launch our first ever
Green Team and Zero Waste Stations this past summer, showcasing the powerful role public arts and culture programming plays in creating a more sustainable Rhode Island.”, Executive Director,
Cathleen Carr, newportFILM.
Throughout 2022 COA’s Director of Sustainability, Eva Touhey, has led event sustainability efforts for many large-scale community events in Newport, introducing comprehensive waste management strategies for partners to easily divert waste from the state’s landfill. These events include: newportFILM Outdoors movie series, Bowen’s Wharf Co. Oyster & Chowder Festival and Seafood Festival, Broadway Street Fair, Norman Bird Sanctuary Harvest Fair, and the International Tennis Hall of Fame Tennis Open. Together, community partners diverted 15,603 pounds of food scraps, 4,500 pounds of oysters, and collected 6,101 pounds of clean recycling materials. Overall 26,204 pounds of waste was diverted from entering the RI landfill after servicing the 15 events in 2022!
“Clean Ocean Access is helping to fill a massive void in the community by providing the tools and resources necessary for local event organizers like ourselves to introduce sustainable initiatives. Without them, there is little to no incentive or guidance at the municipal level for events to successfully transform their waste footprints and educate the public on environmentally-friendly
practices. As the City by the Sea, it is up to us to be stewards of our environment and ensure our community is preserving the good health of neighboring ecosystems on land and in water.”, President, Bart Dunbar, Bowen’s Wharf Co.
COA will work with a business or organization to plan, coordinate, and execute sustainability protocols. First by defining multi-year sustainability goals and then by working to find and implement the best strategies to achieve these standards. The first step towards achieving a sustainable event is implementing waste diversion via composting, clean recycling, and generating minimal landfill waste. Currently, COA works with compost haulers, The Compost Plant and Black Earth Compost, for composting at events.
“Diverting food waste from the landfill is an important step in the fight against climate change. The Compost Plant is proud to be a part of Clean Ocean Access’s initiative, Healthy Soils Healthy Seas, to expand food waste diversion from the landfill in an effort to promote healthy and resilient communities.”, Co-Founder, Nat Harris, The Compost Plant.
In 2023, COA will be hiring a Sustainable Events Specialist to join their team to expand their event sustainability consulting services across the island and state.
“The staff at COA along with their Green Team volunteers were such key partners in helping to reduce the landfill impact at our festivals in 2022. It was an educational process for all parties involved, but it’s evident how much the public cares about seeing these sustainable efforts at local events. We hope the city and larger community will recognize the need to continue to invest in these resources to reinvigorate the commitment to sustainability that will support both businesses and our environment.”, Marketing Communications Manager, Adrienne Morotta, Bowen’s Wharf Co.
Click here to learn more about the initiatives of HSHSRI, goals, and accomplishments.
Eva Touhey, Director of Sustainability